5 Dog Supplements You Must Know About

There are so many supplements for dogs out there, but which dog supplements does your furry friend truly need? A vet weighs in with the top dog supplements and some advice.
Dr. Ernie Ward | Mar 20th 2018

dog-with-bottle-of-supplements-or-vitamins.jpg

1. Omega-3 fatty acids

The first supplement I recommend for any dog, cat or person is an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA have been recognized as powerful brain fuels for nearly a hundred years. The best sources of DHA/EPA for dogs are oils from fish and algae. Omega-3 supplements may potentially improve learning and preserve memory and cognition, aid eyesight and the nervous system and combat harmful inflammation.
DHA/EPA is a dog supplement that’s also helpful in treating arthritis, allergies and many skin conditions. Pets fed dry commercial diets rich in omega-6 fatty acids benefit from daily omega-3 supplements. Adding DHA/EPA to your dog’s diet helps restore a healthier balance of omega-6 to omega-3. Dosage may vary widely and depends on the dog’s age, weight, diet and medical condition. I typically use pet omega-3 formulations and avoid supplements with added Vitamin D.
2. Glucosamine
Dog glucosamine products are everywhere: Television advertisements boast miraculous claims, pet store shelves overflow with choices, and social media stories are abundant. But where there’s hype and hope, there’s also hoax. How can you tell the difference? I’ve been an advocate of glucosamine for decades, but I’ve become increasingly wary of some of the products.
One of the first things I look for when choosing dog supplements is the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal. NASC was established in 2002 to ensure quality and reduce risk for animal nutraceuticals. Next, is the company reputable and trustworthy? Can I speak to someone about ingredient sources, research and quality control? Finally, is there evidence to support usage? Veterinary formulations of glucosamine have been well-researched and have earned my trust. Talk with your veterinarian about the best glucosamine supplement for your dog.
3. Probiotics
I attended a special nutritional conference focused on probiotic research for humans and dogs last summer. A team of Harvard scientists impressed the audience with multiple studies proving probiotics’ positive health impacts in humans and animals. Improved digestive health, enhanced immunity and preventing many diseases were just a few of the potential benefits.
I left feeling validated and committed to promoting probiotics for my pet patients, especially those being boarded, stressed, undergoing anesthesia or with GI problems. I advise using a veterinary formulation or whole food probiotic containing at least one billion CFUs (colony forming units) daily.
4. S-Adenosylmethionine
SAMe, an anti-inflammatory supplement, is used primarily in dogs with liver disease, cognitive decline and arthritis. In humans, SAMe is also used to improve mood and combat depression and Alzheimer’s, and some veterinarians use it in certain behavioral conditions. I recommend SAMe for older pets with declining mental function, liver problems, toxin exposure and as part of my arthritis treatment. I only use special veterinary formulations proven to be properly absorbed. These products have a special coating that prevents stomach acid breakdown.
5. L-carnitine
I’ve recommended carnitine to my canine patients for years as an aid in weight loss, heart disease and to support brain function in older pets. (I also take it.) Dosing can range from 100 milligrams to 2 grams per day, based on the dog’s individual needs. Before I prescribe it, I always check for hypothyroidism, due to carnitine’s potential to impair thyroid hormone function. When treating obesity or heart disease, I often combine with omega-3, coenzyme Q10 and taurine.
Other dog supplements to know
These are only a few of the most common dog supplements your veterinarian may recommend. I’d also add turmeric, B vitamins, medicinal mushrooms, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) … the list can grow. My best advice is to talk with your veterinarian, determine your pet’s needs, and focus on a few supplements that make the most sense for your dog. Look for the NASC seal, ask for peer-reviewed studies, and investigate the manufacturer. What you choose to feed — and supplement — is the most important health decision you make for your dog each day.
Don’t overdo it when it comes to dog supplements

Thumbnail: Photography by Holly Hildreth Photography.
Dr. Ernie Ward is an internationally recognized veterinarian known for his innovations in general small-animal practice, long-term medication monitoring, special needs of senior dogs and cats and pet obesity. He has authored three books and has been a frequent guest on numerous TV programs.

A-happy-dog-with-a-bowl-of-food

14 Ways to Deal With Muddy and Dirty Paws

How do you handle the dirty paws and muddy paws that come along with winter’s final snow and ice storms and spring showers? Check out our tips!

Here are a few tips we can all use to help combat dirty paws during the winter to spring transition:

1. Restrict access to muddy places.Dog-paws-and-human-rain-boots-in-mud.jpg

Cut back on dirty paws by stopping your pup from digging in the yard and fencing off any areas that can get muddy, like flower beds.

2. Make a wash station.

Inside the door of your entry area, keep a big, washable rug and a basket of dog towels. For wet days, you may want to add a hair dryer.

3. Keep wipes in the car.

Cleaning dirty paws in the car not only makes getting into the house easier, but it also helps keep your car clean.

4. Condition your dog to foot touching.

Not all pups like their feet touched. Until he’s familiar with getting wiped down, take it slow, and use lots of encouragement and treats.

5. Shampoo and moisturize those dirty paws.

Because you’ll be wiping your dog’s paws at least once a day, use a gentle soap. Try dry shampoo or one that’s used for show dogs and safe to be used daily. Finish off with a paw conditioner or moisturizer.

6. Get some dog booties.

The right “shoes” can help keep your pup from bringing in dirt and mud. Choose booties meant for the type of outdoor activity your pup is doing, and take it slow at first. Use positive reinforcement to make it a good experience.

7. Try indoor socks.

Get your dog the equivalent of bedroom slippers. This is especially helpful on laminate floors that tend to pick up paw prints easily.

8. Keep things trimmed.

Don’t just trim your dog’s nails. Keep an eye out for any hair poking out between the pads. Trimming that back will not only make any cleaning effort easier but will cut down on the amount of dirt that your pup picks up.

9. Do some basic training.

Teaching your dog the “sit, stay” cue will help a lot! He may have the urge to run through your living room and expensive rugs, but a well-trained pup will stay put when told. “Walk around” or “go in a circle” commands can help get your dog to dry off his own paws on your entry mat.

10. Meet microfiber.

There is such a thing as a paw-cleaning mitt! Google it! This glove is usually covered with microfiber material that grabs onto the dirt or mud and is easy to wash. Simple microfiber cloths work, too.

11. Let floor covers do the work for you.

Put an absorbent mat outside the door, and add a runner inside that your dog must walk on. This should help brush off dirt and help dry paws.

12. Protect those paws.

Put natural dog wax products on your pup’s paws before you head outside. The wax barrier will help keep dirt and mud from getting too deep into the fur and sides of the paw pads.

13. Save your furniture.

A cover on your sofa and other furniture that you can easily take off and wash can help if your dog enjoys lying on them and rubbing his dirty feet all over the place.

14. Be careful of salt/sand.

Dog-paws-about-to-step-out-into-snow.jpg

Material like salt or sand that is used on snow and ice can be trouble. Wipe all this off your dog’s dirty paws as soon as possible. Not only will it keep your dog from ingesting it when he licks his feet, it also keeps that abrasive material off your floors.

Cleaning tips for dirty or muddy paw prints:

  1. For small areas of grout, try using the eraser of a No. 2 pencil.
  2. For tougher grout stains, use special grout cleaning products or a paste made of baking soda and water. Apply with a tooth- brush or grout cleaning brush.
  3. Sweep any hard surface before you mop.
  4. Daily mopping with warm water should work for most paw prints.
  5. If you do use a cleaning solution or vinegar on your floor, go over once more with plain water and a dry mop to finish.
  6. On carpet, let the mud dry to make cleaning easier.
  7. Dry mud on carpet should be vacuumed up slowly first. Hit the mud at all angles, and take your time.
  8. When doing your final cleanup on carpet, blot, don’t rub, so you don’t harm the fibers.
  9. Remove tracked-in water from flooring as soon as possible.

New Super Cool Pet Products

Sauder Pet Coffee Table. Incorporating pet furniture into a modern design scheme is something we love featuring, and this coffee table and dog bed hybrid does exactly that. Constructed from beech veneer wood with an attractive espresso finish, this coffee table would gel with most modern interior design schemes and at the same time provide a safe, space-saving place for your dog to sleep. And it also gives you a place to keep your feet warm!

dog-bed-coffee-table-modern

Petchup – Condiments that are Supplements for Your Dog – Dog Ketchup, Mayonaise, Mustard and BBQ Sauce

dog-condiment-supplements

I’m Gismo – Ergonomic and Modular Leash Handle

gismo-modular-leash-handle-01

‘I’m Gismo’ by Dog Gone Smart Pet Products is an innovative dog walking accessory with connectable add-ons including a flashlight and a clicker training set. The ergonomic soft silicone handle eases discomfort associated with holding a standard dog leash and even allows two dogs to be walked using one handle via a unique carabiner system. I’m Gismo is available in four different colors and comes with a poop bag dispenser accessory and standard carabiner for walking a single dog weighing up to 85lbs

dog-playing-wand-toy

Woofstick – Innovative Dog Toy Provides Exercise, Interaction and Outdoors Fun

Are you looking for a new way to exercise and challenge your dog? The Woofstick is designed to give your dog a great workout that he will enjoy without completely wearing him out. You can insert a treat into the bone that dangles from a wand, which will encourage your dog to jump and pounce as you move the toy around. In addition to providing your pooch with a fun way to exercise, the Woofstick can also be used as a training tool. It even comes with a collapsible water bowl so that your pet stays well hydrated during each enjoyable session.

 

Wondering How Often to Bathe a Dog? It Depends on These Factors

How often to bathe a dog really depends on factors like breed type, activity level and coat quality, to name a few. Let’s learn more here.

First off, why should you bathe a dog?
The most important reason to bathe your dog is for his health. Without a bath, your dog’s skin could get irritated and infected and his coat could get matted and hard to manage. It’s also important that your dog gets bathed regularly to ensure that he can live healthfully alongside your family in your home (and as a cuddle buddy!).

How often to bathe a dog

A-dog-getting-bathed-and-shampooed

How often you should wash your dog depends on his breed, coat quality, skin needs and activity level. So, how often should you bathe your dog?

  1. When he smells. It’s an easy rule of thumb. If your dog smells bad, beyond just normal dog smell, it’s time for a bath!
  2. Consult the professionals. Talk to a professional groomer. She has the knowledge and experience with different breeds and pups that she can help you understand what schedule will be best for your dog’s health.
  3. Medical reasons. If your dog has skin issues, he may be prescribed medicinal shampoo. Tucker used this for a couple of years and it was an amazing solution for his itchy skin. Follow your vet’s directions when using medical shampoo. It will usually require washing more frequently than you are used to and spending more time with a wet, soapy dog as the medicine works its magic!
  4. Pay attention to your dog’s skin. If your dog’s skin gets dry and flaky, you are most likely bathing too often and stripping out important oils from his coat.
    Double-coated breeds. Pups with double coats like Samoyeds, Alaskan Malamutes and Chow Chows, will most likely need less frequent bathing but more brushing to keep their coats healthy and clean.
  5. Oily-coated breeds. Basset Hounds, for example, tend to have oily coats. These pups may require bathing as frequently as once a week.

Short-haired dogs and dogs with water repellant coats. Weimaraners and Dalmatians tend to need very few baths as they can regulate their natural oils without much help.

What you’ll need to wash your dog

1. Shampoo
Choose a dog shampoo that fits your dog’s coat quality and the frequency with which you need to wash him. Diluting the shampoo with water up to 1:8 will allow you to easily cover your dog in suds without over-using the product.
A good way to know that the products in your dog’s shampoo are gentle and safe is to make the dog shampoo yourself at home. Here are a few homemade dog shampoo recipes to try.
Do not use human shampoos for adults or babies on your dog. They are most likely going to be too harsh and harm your dog’s skin.

Lukewarm water. You don’t like a cold shower, so why would your dog?

Brush. Comb your dog pre-bath to help shed any dead hair. Comb your dog again after your dog’s coat is dry to keep your dog’s coat free of mats and to help spread out your dog’s natural oils.

Dry carefully. Do not use a hairdryer on your dog. It is most likely too hot, and the harshness will dry his skin out. Pat your dog with towels and air dry, or use a dryer specifically designed for dogs.

Wet alternatives. Try using dry shampoo and/or dog wipes (use wipes made specifically for dogs — not wipes made for humans or babies, as they have ingredients that may be harmful to dogs in them) to keep your dog dirt and mud free in between baths.
Patience and love. Some dogs don’t like baths, With love and patience, you can make the experience less scary and even enjoyable to them.

The Best Dog Food for All Life Stages

What do you feed a puppy? How about an adult dog or an older dog? Let’s discuss the best dog food according to your dog’s age.

If it were up to your dog, he’d be on a steady diet of pizza and cheeseburgers. Since those things aren’t good for dogs, your job as a pet parent is to pick healthy food made especially for canines. Choosing a food brand can be daunting enough with all the different choices out there. And what about type of food? And then there’s canned versus dry — which should you pick? Let’s break things down by the best dog food for all life stages.

What to feed a puppy

shutterstock_316320035-600x400

When my Corgi, Nigel, was a puppy, I fed him the puppy food recommended by his breeder. It was a quality premium brand, and he liked it. He only ate dry kibble because his sensitive tummy couldn’t handle the canned version. Dry food has less moisture than canned, so Nigel was less likely to get loose stools with dry food.
Puppies are as different from dogs as human babies are from adults when it comes to what their digestive systems will tolerate. While Nigel had trouble with canned food, my parents’ Pomeranian, Monique, did great on canned food as a puppy.
Whether it’s dry or canned, what’s most important is that the food is made especially for puppies. “Puppies need more protein than adult dogs do,” said canine nutrition expert Mary Straus of DogAware.com, who added that, despite what some people think, high protein does not cause orthopedic problems in growing pups. “Too much calcium and overfeeding in general are the culprits there.”
The best way to feed a puppy is to use a food formulated especially for young dogs and to give the amount listed on the bag or can. Being a Corgi, Nigel would have eaten three times the recommended amount of food if I’d let him, but the result would have been an overweight puppy who may have developed joint problems. I had to deal with sad puppy eyes when he asked for more and I said no, but it was for his own good.

What to feed a growing dog

shutterstock_56322706-600x442

Dogs in the age range of 6 to 18 months are ready for adult dog food. They need a lot of energy at this age, so a quality food with a good amount of calories is the best choice.
My friend, Jorge, feeds his 10-month-old German Shepherd a premium-brand kibble for adult dogs. Hemi is a bundle of energy, and Jorge finds it hard to keep weight on him. Hemi gets a big helping of dry food twice a day and is still hungry all the time. Dogs his age are very active and are still growing, so they usually have big appetites.
For some owners of young, growing dogs, money can be an issue. That makes dry food a more obvious choice. “Dry food is almost always cheaper than canned food, providing a comparable number of calories,” Straus said. “This impacts owners of large dogs more than those with small dogs, who may also have trouble getting through a bag of kibble while it is still fresh.”
Luckily, dog food manufacturers usually offer kibble in different sized bags. You can find bags starting at 5 pounds all the way up to 50 for some brands. If you have a small dog, you should buy a smaller bag. You don’t want to store dry food for more than 30 days because it starts to lose its freshness.

About the author: An award-winning professional writer and editor, Audrey Pavia is a former managing editor of DOG FANCY magazine and former senior editor of the AKC Gazette. She is the author of The Labrador Retriever Handbook (Barrons) and has also written extensively on horses as well as other pets. She shares her home in Norco, California, with a rescue dog named Candy.

 

New Puppies And Socialization

What types of things should you socialize your dog or puppy to?

  1. Husbandry: Ear examination, paws being handled, toenail clipping, oral care (teeth brushing), eye examination, grooming, brushing, relaxation during gentle restraint, being picked up/held, accept collar/leash/harness, being on table and scale, collar grab, etc.
  2. Sounds: Vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, thunderstorm or fireworks, CDs (start at low volume!), clapping, deep voices, high pitched voices, sound of clippers or a Dremel, doorbell, knocking on door, dishwasher, etc.
  3. Sights: Remote control car, umbrella opening, moving objects, bicycles, skateboards, cars, etc.
  4. People: Of all ages/skin colors/physical builds; with: wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, irregular speech/body movement; wearing bathing suits, puffy coats, Halloween costumes, hats, sunglasses, various uniforms; men with facial hair, etc.
  5. Events & Environments: Car rides, veterinary visits, groomers, puppy class, pet store, rural, urban, suburban environments, parks, pet stores, etc.
  6. Other animals: well socialized puppies and non-aggressive adult dogs, cats, horses, etc.
  7. Toys: Introduce a variety of chew toys, tug toys, balls, etc.
  8. Walking on different surfaces: bubble wrap, grass, concrete, through a stream, on grates, flattened cardboard boxes, through a ladder or tunnel, etc. (This list is not intended to be exhaustive; I encourage you to think of as many other socialization stimuli as possible.)

Beyond introducing your puppy to these events and items, you must make her experiences with them positive. A well taught, positive reinforcement puppy class will be a great help here. Keep training sessions short and fun, 1 to 3 minutes is more than long enough for most puppies.
Employ classical conditioning techniques: New things in the environment make “good stuff” happen for the dog. Click and treat any interest in the socialization stimuli, even for looking at the item in question. In classical conditioning, the reinforcement is contingent upon the presentation of the stimulus rather than on the dog?s behavior (food is presented as soon as the vacuum is turned on and taken away as soon as the vacuum is turned off, for example).
When doing husbandry exercises, it often helps to have two people – one to handle the dog and one to deliver treats. The treats should start being delivered when the contact starts, and when the contact ends, so do the treats (1:1 ratio of contact – treats to start with). As your dog is more confident about the socialization stimulus, you can begin thinning out the reinforcement schedule.
Once your dog is more confident, you can switch to operant conditioning – clicking for calm behavior around the stimulus or for approaching, investigating, and interacting with the stimulus.
Learning canine stress signals will help you keep your dog under threshold. If she is hungry but can’t or won’t eat, she is probably too close to the object. Increase distance until she notices the object but is not startled by it and proceed more slowly – only decreasing distance when she is comfortable at the current level of exposure. For more on stress signals in dogs, check out this site.
Each time you are able to make interacting with novel stimuli a positive experience for your puppy, you are one step closer to a confident, well-adjusted, non-reactive adult dog.

An Indoor Dog Game to Play When You’re Stuck Inside

Indoor-dog-games-shell-game-

Whether you’re stuck inside due to snow or spring showers in the coming weeks, these indoor dog games are perfect for keeping Fido active and occupied.

Most dogs love the shell game because it includes both treats and an opportunity for using their brains. For the shell game, you will need three opaque cups and a stinky, favorite treat.
Get your dog’s attention and then show him the treat. Place the treat under one cup. When he moves to indicate that he wants the treat, either by using his paw or nose, lift up the cup, allow him to have the treat, and then praise him lavishly. If your dog still doesn’t understand the game, you can use a glass instead of a cup so that he can see the treat as well.
Next, place two cups on the floor, and place the treat beneath one. Move the cups around a couple of times. Your dog should understand that there’s a treat beneath one of them. When he indicates where the treat is, give it to him, and praise. Continue until you’re sure that he understands the game. Phase three of the shell game is to use three cups and mix them up several times before giving your dog the opportunity to choose. The key is to allow your dog to be successful in the game, so go slow if your dog isn’t quick on the uptake. Make it fun.

Some Common Triggers For Dog Aggression

Handling

Many dogs respond aggressively to being handled in certain ways. Common triggers for handling aggression include:

The same goes for various veterinary examinations and procedures, including but not limited to:

  • Eye exams
  • Dental examinations
  • Ear examinations
  • Anal gland expression
  • Injections of any sort
  • Medication delivery
  • Being restrained for examination
  • Being on the examination table
  • Ear cleaning
  • Being pet or touched

Puppies

Maternal aggression is common in all species. Biologically, the point of all life is to pass on genes through reproduction. Because this instinct is strong and inherent in all animals, mothers are extremely likely to be very protective of their litters. Even a dam that is usually friendly may consider strangers to be a threat to her litter and display emotional signals which are intended to inhibit further approach.

Territory Invasion

Many dogs think guarding their home and property is a very important job. Territoriality is an extension of resource guarding, when the entire home and property become a valuable resource which is to be guarded from intruders at any cost.

Resource Guarding

Resource guarding is natural behavior. Dogs that resource guard will view approach by other dogs and/or humans as a threat to what they perceive to be valuable – be it the home property, the owner, a meal or a toy, or a preferred sleeping space.

Other Dogs

Aggression toward other dogs may have a variety of manifestations and causes:

1. Intersex aggression – Intersex aggression is aggression toward dogs of the same sex. This tends to be most common in dogs that are sexually intact and is generally resource guarding for reproductive advantage.

2. Type-specific aggression – Type-specific aggression can occur when a dog has a socialization deficit with dogs of a particular body type (large, black dogs for instance) or a history of negative experiences with a dog of particular body type.

3. Behavior-specific aggression – Dogs, like people, cannot be expected to indefinitely tolerate even the rudest behavior of conspecifics (other dogs). Many dogs will not hesitate to use their voices, body, and/or teeth to tell a rude dog to “back off!”

Movement

Because dogs are predators, they are hard-wired to chase after and bite at things that move quickly and/or unpredictably. Animals which move quickly (squirrels, birds, cats, etc.) are frequent triggers. Human triggers for motion reactivity include biking, jogging, skateboarding, or moving automobiles.

Frustration

Frustration is another common cause of dog aggression. Frustration creates stress, which contributes to aggression. Frustration aggression often forms in relation to barriers including leashes or fences. The dog may want to check out a person or dog on the other side of the fence but becomes frustrated because he cannot. He may redirect his aggression toward a familiar human or animal as a result. Frustration aggression may also occur in relation to extinction, where reinforcement is removed for a behavior that has been previously continuously reinforced. If barking always worked to get attention but suddenly the owner begins ignoring the barking, the dog may experiment to find out if nipping is a more effective way of getting attention.

Doggie Dental Cleanings

The good news for dogs is they’re not as prone to cavities as human beings are. But despite the old conventional wisdom that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a humans, dogs can still develop problems like tartar and plaque buildup and gingivitis. But it’s not just bad breath and yellow teeth you have to worry about. As with humans, these canine dental problems can actually lead to life-threatening infections and issues including heart, liver, and kidney disease.

Here’s how to practice good dog dental care that will extend your dog’s life:

How to brush your dog’s teeth

If your dog can brush his own teeth, you can stop reading this article and start posting the video to YouTube. For the rest of us, we have to use a canine toothbrush and a little strategy. The best brush to use is double-headed with the brushes at a 45 degree angle to clean below the gumline, like those offered by companies like Petosan.

Your dog might not go for the tooth brushing at first, but hopefully, you can make it a reasonably pleasant experience for both of you. Try and choose a time when your dog has had a decent amount of exercise, so he’s more inclined to sit still for the procedure. Don’t overdo it the first few times. Start slowly and quit if your dog gets agitated, even if you don’t brush the whole mouth. You can increase the time every day as he gets used to it. Also, make sure to speak soothingly and pleasantly during the brushing and reward your dog with a treat afterwards. Before too long, your dog should start looking forward to the event.

Start early with your dog as a puppy!

Grown dogs can learn to become comfortable with dog teeth cleaning, but make things easier for yourself by working with your dog as a puppy.

How to pick the right tooth paste for your dog

This is very important. Do NOT use regular human toothpaste for your dog. Most human toothpastes include fluoride, which is extremely poisonous to dogs. You can find toothpaste formulated for dogs at most good pet stores.

Dry food is better than soft food

If the tooth brushing ends in blood, sweat, or tears, there are still choices you can make to help improve your dog’s oral health. Crunchy kibble is better for your dog’s teeth than soft food, as soft food is more likely to stick to the teeth and cause decay.

Chew bones and chew toys to clean teeth

There are many synthetic bones and chew toys that are specially designed to strengthen your dog’s gums and teeth. Just make sure you’re providing safe objects for your dog to chew on. Hard objects can cause broken teeth.

Giving your dog a good bone to chew on can help get rid of build up and keep teeth strong, but imagine a human who only chews gum and uses mouth rinse. That’s not an effective means of ensuring good dental hygiene and overall health. The same is true for your dog.

When to see a veterinarian

Whether you brush your dog’s teeth or not, you should have a look inside his mouth every week or so. If you notice any of these signs of dental problems, then take your dog to the vet:

  • Bad breath
  • Change in eating or dog chewing habits
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Depression
  • Excessive drooling
  • Misaligned or missing teeth
  • Discolored, broken, missing or crooked teeth
  • Red, swollen, painful or bleeding gums
  • Yellowish-brown tartar crust along the gum line
  • Bumps or growths within the mouth